Some may say that nothing in the world beats seeing a foreign country on two wheels! Feel the breeze in your hair and the sunshine on your face and be open to all the interesting aromas that come at you.
Sure, some will be more like an assault to the senses than wisps of fresh unicorn breath but it’s all part of the experience, isn’t it? But if you’re going to see the world on a motorbike or scooter, then you’re going to need one very important accessory … travel insurance with motorbike cover!
Why use a motorbike?
Well if you know what you’re doing, it’s better than a bicycle if you’re not very fit, that’s for sure. And it’s better than a car if you’re trying to keep costs down or if you’re not comfortable driving an actual car in a foreign country. Motoring around on two wheels can be tons of fun and a whole lot cheaper at around $5 AUD per day in places like Bali.
Now, you obviously wouldn’t need to buy travel insurance for a motorcycle if you plan on getting around by bicycle or car or public transport but that’s beside the point. In heavily populated locations, especially those where road infrastructure is not fantastic, a motorbike or scooter can make getting around much more convenient.
Yes, but is it safe?
Ah, now we’re getting somewhere. As Australians, you know how stringent our road rules can be. It’s not the same everywhere in the world, unfortunately. Decades ago, jokes centered around Rome taxi drivers; these days, it’s more likely to be foreigners who can’t be trusted on the roads.
After all, in cities with dense populations such as Mumbai or Shanghai, the locals are accustomed to their own brand of organised chaos. They weave in and out of traffic, sometimes loaded with seemingly impossible cargo or multiple people on board and all to a cacophony of tooting horns.
Put an Aussie in the mix and confusion will reign supreme. Anyone who goes to a foreign country expecting to ride around on what amounts to a motorised bicycle needs their head read if they don’t invest in travel insurance. Scooter cover will save you untold amounts of money if you get involved in an accident and you or someone else is injured.
What would happen if you broke your leg on your first week away? Not only would you have to pay expensive medical costs but you’d have to hire crutches, buy painkillers and you’d probably be laid up in your hotel room or hostel. That’s no way to enjoy a trip away.
How will you afford the costs? Will you have to come home early? Are you going to need time off work? For those who have the foresight to buy travel insurance, motorcycle accidents still hurt, but the wallet won’t take such a heavy hit.
Don’t get caught out by scams
In some countries, foreigners are often made scapegoats for accidents involving motorcycles. Stories abound among backpackers regarding traps set up by locals to ensnare tourists and make them pay for damages and ‘medical’ expenses. If you’re prepared with travel insurance, motorbike cover will protect you from being taken to the proverbial cleaners by scammers.
H3 How to ensure you’re covered
Even if you do buy travel insurance with scooter or motorbike cover, you have to be mindful of what your insurer expects of you. You have obligations and responsibilities, you can’t just go driving around in foreign countries like a maniac on two wheels and expect to be reimbursed for acting like a yahoo. Here are some tips to remember when hiring that motorcycle:
- Wear a helmet! Under no circumstances should you hire a motorbike if no helmet is available to wear while riding or driving it. If your head was found to be uncovered then you will not be covered by your policy.
- Obey the local laws. If you aren’t 100 percent sure of the laws, ask! If you are found to be disobeying the local road rules, your insurer will likely not cover you.
- Don’t drive if you’re not experienced. If you don’t drive a motorbike in Australia, just being overseas isn’t going to give you magical skills to do so.
- Never drive drunk. (Or ride drunk for that matter.) If you’ve consumed alcohol, find some other way to get around. Your travel insurance will absolutely not cover you if you’ve consumed booze. Same goes for drugs, obviously.
- Check the engine size. Some insurers don’t demand that you have a motorbike licence if you’re only going to ride a bike with a small capacity such as under 50cc, for which a car licence may suffice. Read your policy thoroughly before buying and then when you go to hire the bike, check its size before hopping on. But generally, if you’re riding a scooter/moped/motorbike a licence must be held regardless of the engine size.
- Choose power you can handle. If you’re used to riding a fairly standard 248cc Suzuki at home, don’t use your holiday as an opportunity to prove you can manage a 659cc Ducati on your road trip down the coast of Italy. Cruise, don’t bruise!
- You won’t be covered for any theft or damage to a moped or motorbike, whether you own it, borrow it or hire it.
How to add travel insurance motorbike cover to your policy
Generally speaking, when you shop around for travel insurance, motorbike cover will be an optional extra. You’ll usually find it in the section where you declare what sports and activities you’ll be participating in on your trip. Even if you think you’ll only be on the back of a bike once while away, it could be that one little trip that brings you undone.
What to do if you’re in a motorbike mishap
The moment something happens to you, take stock of your situation. Contact your insurer’s Emergency Assistance operator as soon as possible and be ready with your policy details. You will need to take down the particulars of anyone else who was involved, including passengers, drivers and pedestrians, as well as information concerning any damage caused to all vehicles and other property. Keep all receipts for expenses as well as medical reports, police reports and quotes for repairs to damaged property.
While taking to the road on two wheels seems like the height of adventure and carefree fun, it can also be fraught with risks to life and limb. But without travel insurance, motorcycle riding is even riskier!